New Delhi: Pakistani screenwriter Umera Ahmed, whose romantic saga ‘Zindagi Gulzar Hai’ became a hit here, has been getting offers from Indian TV channels but the author says she finds herself “incompetent” to pen shows that run for years.
“None of my shows have ever touched 30 episodes, so I don’t feel comfortable or competent enough to write for such long shows. There are daily soaps in Pakistan too but writers like me who also write novels can’t drag a story to 100 episodes,” she told PTI in a telephonic interview.
Umera, 37, said she has got an offer to write for a finite series here, which she might consider in future.
The writer says her decision will also depend on the success of other Pakistani dramas in India besides ‘Zindagi’, which will be replaced by ‘Maat’, again penned by Umera.
‘Maat’ is a story of two sisters with different perceptions and principles in life.
Umera credits the success of ‘Zindagi’, a 26-episode romantic-social drama in India to its relatable story, which is based on her novel of the same name.
The drama depicts the love story between Zaroon played by Fawwad Khan, who is making his Bollywood debut in ‘Khoobsurat’ opposite Sonam Kapoor and Kashaf, played by Sanam Saeed.
“People can connect with the dynamics shown between Zaroon and Kashaf because every man and woman has gone through such emotions and it’s same everywhere be in Pakistan or in India,” Umera said.
The lead characters are shown having many insecurities and flaws, a departure from “positive” roles one finds on TV shows. Umera said she purposely wanted to add negative qualities in the characters so that they look real.
“In dramas we show handsome men as good and sweet but I wanted to show that they can have flaws and hence Zaroon is this good-looking rich man but a chauvinist. And Kashaf is poor but not out-and-out positive, she is bitter and even rude,” she said.
Umera reveals that unlike in India where fans get bored of a show after it runs for years, in Pakistan people get upset if a series goes beyond 18 episodes.
“We start getting feedback saying, ‘You are dragging the show’, the writers are always under the pressure that they have to wrap up the show maximum by 20 episodes,” she said.
Pakistani dramas have been appreciated by Indian fans for picking social issues and also providing a relief from over the top functions, a favourite with Indian fiction shows.
“The real factor is tight-budget. We can’t afford to show lavish functions or great locales in our dramas unlike Indian makers. So, our point of focus is content and performance. We try to keep that at the top as we know that’s what matters the most,” Umera said.
The writer also feels that Pakistani dramas are better storytellers than Indian shows.
“TV gives you a choice to watch anything you want and in that scenario if people are watching our shows and not changing channel even in ad breaks, that means we are stronger,” she said.
The writer admits she has not watched any Indian show mainly because she does not find them entertaining.
“But Indian shows are watched and loved here. In fact Ekta Kapoor’s ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’ was a hit with audiences,” Umera said.